Australia hands India a 333-run thrashing

India was bowled out for 107 in its chase of 441 to go down to Australia by 333 runs in the first Test in Pune.

Steve Smith celebrates after scoring his 18th Test century.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Steven Smith's men were written off even before they stepped foot in India for a tough looking series, but the Australian side that took field in the first Test in Pune showed no signs of the ghosts from its sub-continental past and ended India's 19 Test unbeaten streak in well under three days, with a comprehensive 333-run win.

Smith led from the front and scored a commendable century on a tough surface, but it was left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe who made the Indian batsmen look like amateurs and caused the most telling damage.

O'Keefe ended with figures of 12/70 — the second best for a bowler behind Ian Botham, in India against India. India came into the final day knowing well of the mammoth task in hand. It did manage to wrap-up the Australian innings within the first session but conceded a lead of 440 runs.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Smith reached his ton, and Mitchell Starc smashed a quickfire 31 to help Australia set up a big target. Not many expected India to reach the target, which would have been a world record if it had managed, but it was the rather hapless surrender which disappointed a good crowd that had braved the heat.

None of the batsmen showed any application which was required on the tricky pitch. Australia needed just 33.5 overs to get the win. The openers — Murali Vijay and K. L. Rahul — were sent back to the hut within six overs. Their poor use of the reviews left India without one after only six overs. Not that any of it mattered because none of the batsmen were dismissed in controversial fashion.

Virat Kohli, who was to be the key wicket, left one alone off O'Keefe that crashed into his off-stump. Rahane too chipped one straight to cover — another rather soft dismissal, and might find his spot up for debate for the next game. Pujara showed some grit, but was soon dismissed after tea, and Australia didn't need much time to clean up the rest.

Poor technique against spin

It was the poor technique against spin which will give the team think tank a big headache. Australia, too, deserves credit for the way it bowled, and especially spinners O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon who got the 10 wickets between them. They bowled in the right areas and spun the ball just enough to put doubt into the batsman's mind, before getting them with a straighter one.

Four of the top six were dismissed off balls that skidded on and didn't spin. They stayed back and tried to read the ball off the surface, which is never easy in India, and all of them paid the price. India will need to re-group and forget about this performance before the next game in Bangalore which starts on March 4.

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